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Friday, February 23, 2024

MacNeil Hails Victory for Island Communities With Scrapping of HPMA Plans

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Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has expressed delight that the Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMA) proposals will now be abandoned and not taken forward.

Commenting Mr MacNeil said:

“This is a victory for common sense.

“I am delighted that we have seen off HPMAs in their current form.

“The consultation on 10% of the waters being designed as HPMAs by 2026 has now been abandoned and it is a victory for those who have argued passionately, strongly, coherently, and wisely against the HPMAs.

“I hope that whatever is brought forward in the future is not as onerous or as dangerous as the HPMA proposal was.

“Obviously, this will not be the end of people trying to destroy aspects of the fishing industry and livelihoods in our coastal communities, but I don’t think ever again will such a big assault on the livelihoods of people in our coastal communities happen.

“We will have to remain vigilant that it doesn’t happen again, but today we can be glad and congratulate all those who raised their voices, and even composed songs  in this campaign. 

“It goes to show that they were listened to at the end of the day despite the worries and the stress that we all had.”

Mr MacNeil had been in constant contact with Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan over the last few months stressing repeatedly the strength of feeling against HPMAs in the islands.

He had also encouraged as many constituents as possible to respond to the consultation.

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